The Choosing is a story with interesting mystical tones and a touch of the allegorical. It speaks to the harmony that must exist between people and the gods for the bounty on earth to be renewable. The passages that portray rituals used to honor the earth and its gifts were memorable to me.
Strength and vitality are prominent traits in the main character. Mondoani is no ordinary girl; she has been chosen by the gods to be the tribe’s new Memory Keeper when their Old Mother dies. The Memory Keeper plays a most significant role in the tribe. She is the conduit who is entrusted to intercede with the gods for a tribe’s survival: to ensure safe passage to the place where food, water and safety are assured. This task is daunting for Mondoani, fraught with fears that there will not be enough time for her to gain enough knowledge necessary to keep the tribe safe from famine and death. Mondoani, however, never wavers from tackling the immense responsibilities given her at such a young age. The author wove her words carefully, finding some balance in tone between Mondoani’s worry and confidence, her fears and courage.
The last few chapters offer an unusual twist to the story. The ceremony to choose an apprentice for Mondoani was dramatic, with surprising revelations involving various gods intermingling with the tribe. If you enjoy allegorical stories, this one will appeal. From today forward you will be called Young Mother as I was in my youth and later just Mother. If you make it into old age as I have your name will be Old Mother.”
“NO! Those were your names, I will remain Mondoani. That is what the Thunder Boys yelled as they left the sacred place and even, Selu, the Goddess of the corn; named me Mondoani during the choosing. That is who I am and whom I will remain Old Mother. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I cannot bear your name.
The old woman sat speechless for a moment until acceptance filled her countenance.
“So be it! Though it may be your downfall or your salvation, Mondoani it is and Mondoani it stays.” Outwardly, the young girl appeared calm, inwardly she quaked. I had expected a bigger fight. Though I will not lose myself in the Old Mother. It would be the death of me of that I am sure.
With a last look of longing at her friends, she turned to the old woman. With great patience, she waited to take the next step forward into her new life. Her thin shoulder blades, pronounced under her leather tunic, large brown eyes filled her small face as she gazed at the Old Mother. This is the woman who will teach me, lead me, and be my world now. She thought as she noticed for the first time the yellow of old age in the woman’s eyes. Will there be time?
YOU CAN FIND
(THE MEMORY KEEPERS, BOOK 1)
BY MARTA MORAN BISHOP AT: